“Wash. Your. Haaaaaaaaaaaaaaands. Yeah. Wash. Your. Haaaaaaaaaaaaaaands.”
Hi. I started writing this during science class today, which is an ongoing discussion about the coronavirus and how it spreads. We watched a rap about handwashing. It went as well as one would expect from a rap about handwashing.
But we also got some more clarity on what Dallas ISD and Tiny’s school will do in the coming weeks. Today, we got set up on Google Classroom, and traded messages back and forth on Class Dojo.
But I’ll be honest – when you have a kid that thrives on structure and your job is rather unstructured, you do end up feeling a little untethered at times. I was wrapping up editing a newsletter today when Tiny came in.
“It. Is. Nine. Oh. Clock,” he said, emphatically.
“I know, I know, but I have to just schedule this one thing,” I said, scrambling.
“School starts at nine. Give me some math or scrap it,” I was ordered.
The good news is, starting next week, it looks like I can expend significantly fewer mind grapes coming up with lesson plans. Mrs. Smith is back in action, on Google Classroom, and handing out assignments. All I have to do is make sure they get done.
Dallas ISD is also sending some tips – and sent me these suggestions in a press release this week.
“The first thing that parents need to know is that we’re here to support you during this time of transition,” Dallas ISD deputy chief of teaching and learning Shannon Trejo said. “We want to be patient, we want to be flexible, we want to express grace in this time, and we want for you to know that we’re here to help.”
Dallas ISD middle school and high school students are using online learning on their district-issued laptops. Elementary students seem to be a mix of at-home activities and online, depending on the school. Tiny’s school is a personalized learning school that already has several parts of the curriculum online, so his third grade class will be doing a lot of their work on Chromebooks.
The district also created a whole website to guide at-home learning to help parents and students.
“This is a big transition for all of us,” district chief technology officer Jack Kelanic said. “Nearly all of our staff in the IT department will be working remotely, and we’re committed to making this transition as smooth as possible for our parents, students, and teachers.”
The district says that for now, elementary at-home learning will be more traditional, and less digital. But that also, as I said, depends on the school.
“As we plan a more interactive way of working with our students remotely, we will update this method for elementary students in grades 3 through 6,” the district said.
I’m certain there will be glitches. I’m certain that there will be days where I have to do some 12 Angry Men-style cajoling to get things done. There will be days when only gifs will be adequate to display my emotions.
But all of that is OK. This wasn’t supposed to happen.
I will also admit to a mini-meltdown last night where I informed everyone that I could not be the only one thinking up things to do for school, and that my brains were cramping. That’s not hyperbole. I’m fairly certain they seized up at one point because I looked at a text string with a friend and it was just that dancing lady emoji followed by the crying emoji.
I asked Tiny today what the first thing he wanted to do once we’re all sprung from this social isolation.
“See my friends. Eat at a restaurant. Shop at a store. Play on a playground. Hug my teacher,” he said. “Oh, and touch my face.”
“That is a difficult one,” I agreed.
“I used to never think about touching my face,” he said. “But now it’s something I think about every day. I want to go back to not thinking about how I shouldn’t touch my face because I don’t think I touched my face much at all before, but now it’s all I want to do.”
He’s not wrong.